When it comes to this season’s Chiefs, I have been the most optimistic person I know. Well, I’m over it. One of my preseason predictions was that I could see this team being as bad as 1-15 or as good as 11-5. When pressed for a specific, I went with 8-8. Not only was I wrong about that but I have also arrived at a place where I suspect that the low end of my forecasting may have been uberly optimistic. In fact, I question just about all of my prior assumptions about this team.
Sad to say, one thing it turns out I was correct about, with one possible exception, was the linebacker situation. In the face of prevailing opinion that our linebacker corps would be the strength of our defense, I said no, that it would be our biggest weakness on defense. Told you so. The aforementioned exception comes as a result my assumption that this would be the year that Derrick Johnson amounted to something.
Brodie, son, I am giving up on you this year and probably forever. There, I said it. I feel much better. Point is, if you’re going to be out until at least October 19th, number one, YOU ARE NOT DURABLE and number two, if you are not durable, your evaluation is over because YOU ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Even though I might someday have you as my #3, understand that you and I have broken up.
The remainder of this post has been paid for by the Campaign For Hope and Change and I approve this message.
I truly hope the Chiefs win more than 4 games this year (but don’t ask me how!) to avoid the shackles of the Top 5. If the remainder of this season can devoted to some purpose other than developing talent, it would be to work for the opportunity to trade down our #1 pick so that we can acquire even more talent via extra draft picks. That is all but impossible if you’re stuck in the top 5. I will consider this season a huge success if we somehow manage to land somewhere between pick 6 and pick 10 of the ’09 Draft/
Is there anything that can be done to improve this team right now? Yes. First off, I would try to work a trade involving Kolby Smith for Dennis Dixon. You see, the concern about Dixon going into last year’s draft was not about his level of talent, but rather, whether and how soon he could recover from his injury. Long story short, he recovered and in case you haven’t noticed, the Ducks are a mere shadow of their former selves without him. Dixon is a proven difference maker and contrary to the popular expectations, he healed ahead of schedule and indeed is now the recipient of an NFL paycheck. Pittsburgh has him buried at #3. Dennis Dixon (Note the great initials he bears. Coincidence??? I think not!) is far and away better than any QB currently on our roster. Pull the trigger. Please.
I strongly suspect the Chiefs are in the midst of an organization-wide leadership crisis that starts at the front office and permeates all the way down to the playing field. Carl Peterson knows his contract will not be renewed and that he is little more than a caretaker for the stadium renovation process. In short, he is a lame duck and at this point probably does not really care to set any kind of meaningful expectations for Herm, the staff, or the team.
In response to this leadership vacuum, my campaign for Marty Schottenheimer as the Chiefs next GM begins today.
Enough time and personnel/management changes have transpired since he last worked for the Chiefs to now make it a realistic option. I still believe Herm is the way to go as HC and I believe a Marty and Herm reunion would be perfect and provide both continuity and the right kind of leadership. I also believe Marty would enjoy the challenge of finishing two projects that he started with the Chiefs. Namely, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to KC and completing Herm’s education on how to make that happen.
During the offseason, the first order of business is housecleaning. CP’s main claim to fame, filling up Arrowhead every Sunday, no longer applies. And to that I say, as you live by ticket sales, so shall you die. It’s over Carl and please don’t make a mess when you leave. Next, can Prieffer and Curl. Prieffer, in spite of being given progressively higher levels of talent each year has managed to completely ruin the Chiefs’ special teams. If field position is king in the NFL, then Mike Prieffer has unequivocally laid claim to the title of Court Jester. And Dick Curl has done exactly what? End of that discussion.
Speaking of housecleaning, Gunther has taken up residence in my “tolerance box.” I have been a long time Gunther guy and still expect him to turn our D around. Expectations aside, I do question his level culpability for how bad our backers suck. He made LB position coach a personal mission this year and just what has that wrought? I believe the operative word for that is “embarrassment.” As alluded to in an earlier paragraph, the LB situation ain’t lookin’ so pretty right now and unless things turn around immediately if not sooner, a little accountability is in order.
As suggested in my opening remarks, I believe the remainder of this season’s focus needs to be about where we fall in next year’s draft. I think picks 6 through 10 are the ideal place to land because your chances of trading down for additional picks are optimal, you are more likely to avoid the whole cap-eating contract / hold-out scenario, and because our “need” positions can more than adequately be addressed in the middle to late range of the first round if we can trade down. Specifically, we need to come away with at least a quality OL and quality MLB out of first two rounds and I see no excuse for that not to happen. If we somehow manage to have more than 2 picks on day one, then we need to spend any extra picks on either QB, OLB, or WR. My choice for a QB pick right now is Hunter Cantwell who I have seen projected as a possible 3rd rounder. Sam Bradford is another good option but I suspect he may go in the first round.
The free agency process as well needs better attention this offseason than what we had to endure in the last go round. My watch/want list currently includes WR Roy Williams, WR Lee Evans, WR Jabar Gaffney, OG Chris Snee, OLB Karlos Dansby, OT Jordan Gross, ILB Bart Scott, MLB Johnathon Vilma, SLB Angelo Crowell, LB Channing Crowder, and SLB Tyjuan Hagler.
How about it Addicts? What changes, immediate and/or long term, would you like to see?